Finding the Right Approach to Kick Start Your Cyber-Security Strategy

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Like many of my colleagues, I spent the better part of last week at Dell World and the Dell World User Forum, speaking with our customers and partners about all things cyber-security. It was clear from these conversations that:

  • Cyber-security risk continues to be top concern for the C-suite and Board
  • The steps to mitigate this risk are not always clear
  • Most customers traditionally focus on upgrading or adding independent layers around key assets 

When we look at recent public data breaches, we also see the following practices in play:

  • Most have basic security controls (patching, password management, NGFWs, data encryption, user access management and controls, etc.)
  • Many also have added more advanced controls around zero-day/sophisticated security threats or APTs
  • However, the consistent theme is that the focused threat finds a way through the maze and gradually compromises the layers of defense and accesses key assets.

So what’s the solution? Ultimately, most parties agree that protection of the enterprise of the future will require investment in the layers, as well as an interconnected security fabric with shared context-awareness and intelligence. The challenge is that the enterprise also needs a comprehensive security strategy and proactive plan that looks not only at its needs both today and in the future, all of which must be accomplished while ensuring the business remains productive and agile. In speaking with colleagues, customers and partners worldwide, we’ve found that there are really three phases organizations can take to kick start an effective, proactive security strategy.

Phase I:

The first step involves looking at the essentials, which starts with identifying key assets – the critical information that must be protected. Protecting these assets starts with some ‘must haves’ for a solid security approach, including a next-generation firewall (NGFW), password and user authentication policies, mobile and endpoint security solutions and implementing basic access and identity controls. It is crucial that an organization’s NGFW should include the ability to monitor encrypted traffic coming into the network. In our Annual Threat Report, Dell saw a 109 percent increase in the volume of HTTPS encrypted traffic coming through the enterprise.  You MUST be inspecting this traffic.

Phase 2:

For organizations that already have locked down a plan on Phase I, the next step is to add protection from zero-day and other sophisticated security threats. The challenge will be to choose a solution that does not create latency, so as not to affect productivity. At Dell World, Dell announced a preview of a new approach to detecting and blocking advanced persistent threats, providing industry-leading security without hindering business agility. Additionally, an advanced approach to security should include the ability to securely manage access and extend policy enforcement for cloud and SaaS access without impacting user productivity.

Phase 3:

In speaking with my colleagues from SecureWorks, it is clear that the most secure organizations in the world take the solutions identified above and tie them together, creating an interconnected fabric with shared context-awareness. Dell Security does this, as we are building the integrations across the layers and lowering risk across the enterprise. An example here is where you see us extending our security controls into the fabric of the switch, as we announced at Dell World. We are also working to integrate solutions from our Identity and Access Management group, Network Security group and Data Security group, which you’ll hear more about in the coming months.

Of the above, we suggest focusing on a future-ready, proactive security strategy. This should include the creation of intelligence – advanced elements like privileged access management, and a next-generation firewall that reinforces security strategy throughout the enterprise.

I truly enjoyed speaking with our customers and partners this week at Dell World and the Dell World Software User Forum and learning more about their issues and how Dell can help them succeed. Moreover, I was pleased to hear positive feedback from our customers and partners regarding our presence at the show and our newly-announced solutions. An example of this feedback, below, is from Michael Crean of Solutions Granted:

“The security sessions at Dell World Software User Forum 2015 are valuable and meeting one-on-one with the executives is inspiring. Having access to the tech preview of the new Dell SonicWALL APT Protection technology live with the experts and learning how it will help reinforce my security infrastructure for the future truly makes this experience one of a kind.” – Michael Crean, CEO of Solutions Granted Inc.

I look forward to sharing updates and exciting news over the next few months about how Dell continues to grow our ability to meet our customers’ most critical security needs.

To keep up with the latest Dell Security news and events, follow us on Twitter at @DellSecurity.

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